The Colorado Rockies are almost there. They are very close to finally having it all in place. They haven’t made the postseason since 2009, and since the inception of the franchise in 1993, they’ve only had six winning seasons. A lone 2007 World Series appearance is all they have to show as far as postseason success goes.
This season, however, they are only seven games under .500, good for third in the NL West. The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have run away with the division, but the Rockies aren’t that far off. So what has contributed to their decent start to 2016?
Rockies 2016 Midseason Report
Biggest Surprise: Tyler Chatwood
Tyler Chatwood has been their best starter by far. He stands at 8-4 overall, with a 3.08 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. Chatwood is the only Rockies starter with an ERA under four. Pitching at Coors Field for about half of your starts will always inflate your ERA. The issue for the Rockies is that their starting staff has just never been able to translate their pitching and hitting on the road.
Chatwood’s home and away splits clearly show that his numbers are inflated by playing in Coors. His home record is 3-4, with a 5.10 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. On the road? A perfect 5-0, a 1.30 ERA, and 1.01 WHIP. Chatwood’s road production is a lead that the rest of their staff needs to follow.
Biggest Dissappointment: Catcher Production
In an era of productive catchers, such as Buster Posey, Wilson Ramos, Salvador Perez, and Stephen Vogt, the production coming from the catcher position in Denver is sub-par. In a hitters park, you’d expect the catchers to at least be near .260 or .270. Nick Hundley is their best-hitting catcher, at .254 with an .804 OPS. A whole forty-two RBI from the catchers position alone is just not good enough in today’s league. If they want to compete in the West, they need better, steadier production from their catchers.
Midseason Team MVP: Nolan Arenado
Is this really even a question? This guy not only is the Rockies MVP, but should be in the NL MVP conversation as well. Have you seen Nolan Arenado’s statline? A slashline of .287/.359/.570/.930. Tack on the twenty-three home runs and seventy RBI, and this kid is a bona-fide star. It’s a shame the Cubs and their fans hijacked the All-Star Game, because this guy absolutely deserved to start. Throw in his fielding: Arenado has played 758.2 innings at third and has only ONE error. ONE ERROR! That’s in 257 total fielding chances. Arenado could actually propel this team to a playoff spot if they can kick it into gear post-All-Star break.
What to Watch For
Going into the second half, they’re only eight games under .500. So what do you watch for? You watch to see if they become buyers or sellers. Last break they became sellers. This year, since they’re not too far out of the race, they have a chance at becoming buyers. Realistically, anything that happens at the deadline should be done with 2017 in mind. That means Carlos Gonzalez will only be traded for MLB-ready pieces. If they go on a run before the deadline, it may be just enough to convince CarGo to stay and make a run next year. They’re really only a “rotational maturation” away from the postseason.